Did you know that every marketplace has “high shopping times” when people are clicking to buy, and “low shipping times” when people click just to look around?
The problem, is that Amazon has NO problem showing your ads to people who are very unlikely to buy, but more than happy to spend your valuable advertising budget.
Rather than manually log in and disable/re-enable your ads every morning and night, Amachete makes it easy to automatically schedule your campaigns to turn on and off when people are actually shopping.
(Assuming you’ve already activated the PPC link)
1. Click on the AD TIMER logo on the menu.
2. There you’ll see a list of your currently scheduled timers. If this is your first timer, you won’t see anything, except for a blank screen, which I guess counts as something.
3. After you click the only button you can click on the screen you’ll be presented with a list of your advertising profiles. It’ll look a lot like this. Just click on the one that has a campaign (or campaigns) that you’d like to automate.
4. You’ll then see a list of campaigns you can specify that you’d like to automate. The # on the far right is the number of keywords in that campaign.
5. This is where the magic happens. Chart magic.
This is a chart of your sale volume over the last 30 days. As you can see from this chart sales pick up right around 6am, and drop off pretty sharply at around 9pm.
6. So, below that we’ll specify the following hours for the advertising schedule.
7. Then click CREATE TIMER and you’re DONE.
Amachete will now automatically turn on and off your campaigns at those times every day and night.
*Note: We automatically convert all times so they display in the timezone of the target marketplace.
Periodically you might want to have a full copy of all your reviews. Now you can download them in a CSV from Amachéte in exactly three clicks.
Click on the REVIEW MONITOR option on the side menu.
You’ll see a list of your products with their review totals and averages for each marketplace
Click on one of the marketplaces
This will take you to a page where you can see all of the reviews for your product.
For your third and final click, the green download button is your best bet.
Then you’ll receive a lovely CSV file which you can use to search through your reviews, sort them by date, sort them by rating, and you’ll even have the URL/HTTP Web link for each order so you can see it on the web.
Right around 4th quarter I receive a number of fake patent infringement letters telling me that my product is a fake, which is insanely ironic and annoying.
Here’s an email I received through buyer-seller messaging at the end of October.
Here’s a more convincing one I received directly to my email, a few weeks later. It even comes from a very real seeming Amazon address (I haven’t bothered to check to see if they’re spoofing it or what. Or maybe the Seller Performance Team knows it’s not an actionable complaint but passes the message along)
The thing is, I know this product doesn’t infringe on any patents, so I simply ignored them.
Why would anyone send fake cease and desist letters? Because a lot of people won’t know any better, and there’s money at stake.
Sales for this product were pretty great yesterday, I can understand why someone wanted less competition
In summary. Don’t infringe on people’s patents, but don’t believe someone just because they’re telling you that you’re infringing on someone’s patents.
Amazon will take your listing down if you _actually_ infringe, they don’t need your help to do it.
Here’s a good question I get from time to time, with a lot of wrong answers being given.
Here’s an easy way to understand why something shows up in your Search Term Reports.
If a user is looking at [X] and they click on your ad, [X] will show up in your search term reports.
So, if a user is looking at “Amazon’s search results for the word ‘pickle juicer'” and they click on your ad, you will see “pickle juicer” in your search term reports.
However, what happens if a user doesn’t pick on your ad (just pretend there is one) and they click on that first pickle juicer which is actually a pickle fork because there’s no such thing as a pickle juicer, work with me.
If they scroll down because this isn’t a pickle juicer they want and they see YOUR product down among the related products, and then click on it, Amazon treats this product page the same way it would a search result, and says “Well, a shopper was looking at this, and then went to your product, so you should know. Their ASIN is X.”
Okay I’ll just Negative Exact Match them.
According to this Amazon Employee, you can not Block ASINs, nor can you negative exact match them.
So. To recap:
1. If a shopper is looking at search term results, and clicks on your product, you will see a search term in your reports.
2. If a shopper is looking at an asin (a product), and clicks on your product, you will see an ASIN.
3. If a user is looking at the sun, and they click on your ad, well… Sunglasses are a small product, nice markup, light weight, but with a lot of competition. I wouldn’t recommend it.
This question comes up quite a lot, and the answer is…
Yes. Of course.*
As a general rule you can assume it makes sense to sell a cheap product, whenever you see someone selling it because… why else would they be selling it?
*There are weird fringe cases where a person might sell something at a loss, but Occam’s razor suggests that most people are selling things because it makes them money. In business, it’s safe to say that profit is everything.
The question with Amazon is actually never about the price of a product, the real question of worthiness is about the profit. Selling a $100 item 20x a day seems great because that’s technically a $730,000 a year business.
However if that item costs them $94 after shipping, manufacturing, Amazon’s commission, sales tax, PPC advertising, etc, it’s really a $43.8k a year profit business.
Compare that to an item that you sell for $12 but actually only costs you $5. At 20x a day that item actually generates more profit than the $100 item.
Beware the Add-On Badge
Items below a certain price (generally under $10.00) fall under the auspices of the “Add On Item” program. Amazon won’t ship these items by themselves because the cost of shipping might eat into their profit margin. Again, profit is everything.
This means that no one can really buy your product unless they purchase another product in the same order. This can greatly affect your sales, unless it’s the type of product that people frequently by multiples of, or with another item.
NOTE: I’ve heard a rumor that if you start your price at $9.99 and gradually lower it, you can bring the price lower and avoid add-on status, than you could if you were to just set it at a low price to begin with.
So, set your price to $9.99, then $9.79, then $9.59, etc, and inch your way to your lower price and see what happens.
Perk: Fewer Returns!
There’s an added upside to selling a cheap item. Fewer returns. If you buy something that costs $50 and it doesn’t work, you’ll likely return it. $12? Meh. You won’t even bother.
Now, we are of the opinion that you should never knowingly sell a mediocre product, but there are some wheels that will always be squeaky no matter how much grease they receive so it’s nice to cut back on the number of times you have to interact with them.
So, to recap. Check your costs, find your profit, make sure your price isn’t too low, and go for it.
First. You should be very very very quiet with this complaint or else someone that’s still sitting on 2,000 fidget spinners might spin all of them at your face in jealousy. Fidget spinner deaths are never pretty.
Second. Rejoice. This is the best problem to have in FBA.
First: Here’s what you shouldn’t do…
Gradually raise your price to slow down your sales to stay in stock.
Please don’t do this.
Amazon is a little bit like a bitter ex- and that they never ever forget, which is why if you ever get back together with them they will 100% remember the last thing you did.
So, if you were selling 200 items a day and then broke up with them (went out of stock) and then got back together they’d _assume_ you were selling 200 items a day and put you right back on page 1 with all the other winners.
If you were selling 200, then 100, then 20, then 2, Amazon says “Wow, this item really was getting unpopular at the end right before they went out of stock, so let’s just…place this here. On page 17. Page 17 is nice. It’s a fixer-upper. It has charm.
Step 1. don’t muck with your price by raising it.*
(*you can muck with it a little. sometimes by raising the price you might discover that you sell more. So, feel free to raise it until it has an adverse affect on your sales)
(i’m not sure the word muck is nice. It feels wrong when I say it and also when I type it, so maybe keep that in mind too. It’s the least important part of that step though)
Step 2. You can screw with your price by lowering it.
Screw just seems worse than muck but we’re stuck with it now gang.
If you lower your price as you are running out of stock, your sales velocity will actually increase (go figure) and then instead of going out of stock with a 200/sale a day item, you’re going out of stock with a 250/sale a day item.
It’s like if you’re breaking up with someone and then on the very last day you buy them a Tesla as a break-up gift. “I can’t be with you but here, it’s basically a huge battery with wheels I hope you love it.”
The current reigning theory is that when you come back in stock, Amazon will honor the 250/day rate and rank you accordingly.
Step 3. When you go out of stock close your listing.
To extend the broken relationship metaphor, imagine you break up with your ex- but in a great way. “Honey I love you but I’ve been invited to go to Botswana to help with the starving kids and I just can’t do long distance but I’ll be back in 2 months because you’re the love of my life. Please wait for me.”
Leaving your listing open is like… occasionally texting your ex during that 2 month period, every couple of weeks… but instead of sending a sweet I love you, you’re just texting them this:
“Hey you kinda suck.”
Then when you get back after 2 months you wonder why they Hey Kinda Dont Like You Any More.
This is because while you’re out of stock for 2 months while your listing is OPEN, there’s the chance that your product will get returns. And when Amazon gets a return that it thinks it can resell, it will put it on the shelf. And then that one item will sell.
So now suddenly you’ve got 200 sales a day for a year and then nothing, and then 1 sale on one day. Nice. You Kinda Suck in Amazon’s eyes and they’re not gonna forget it when you get Backswana.
Step 4. Don’t forget to raise your price when you’re sending your inventory in.
It’s a dumb thing but Amazon loses things all the time, basically Amazon will look at your historical price for a product, and sometimes (but not always) they’ll just look at your list price. So if you send in 2000 items with a list price of $20 and Amazon loses them, they’ll give yoU $40k. If you forgot to raise your price from $10, you’ll only get $10k.
JK it’s $20k I just wanted to give you that brief moment of satisfaction from having caught me in a mathematical error, because I love it when I catch other people in theirs.
If all this feels like a lot of work to have to do with one product, imagine doing the same thing with twenty products. Yeah you don’t want that life and I don’t want that life for you either. The best thing to do is keep an eye on your products inventory.
If you have 5 products and it takes you three minutes each to check their sales vs inventory and predict their stock out 3 times a week, that’ll mean you’ll spend (5*3*3*4, show your work) 180 minutes a month just checking inventory. That’s THREE HOURS every month, that’s 36 hours a year.
Or you can just sign up for Amachete and we’ll give you an easy page where we’ve done all the math and accounted for how long it takes your manufacturer to ship it so that you’ll know exactly how many days you need before you press that buy button.
You can just glance at it. And we’ll let you know if it’s getting kinda close.
Amazon is still tracking the keyword that brought you here.
If enough people purchased this item from this URL, Amazon would think “Wow, a lot of people are typing in Ninja Turtle and buying this” and eventually “Maybe we should show this item FIRST when people type in Ninja Turtle?”
That URL is called a “SuperURL”, or more specifically a 1-click SuperURL. Because a person clicks ONE URL and then purchases the item.
1-Click SuperURLs are kind of bad.
Why are they bad?
Glad you asked.
Remember when I said that Amazon measures everything? They measure EVERYTHING. They are like…meth heads when it comes to compulsive measurement.
One of the things they measure is your conversion rate. Your conversion rate is the # of times a person looks at your product and says “You know what, I DO want to buy this.” They get converted from a shopper to a buyer.
So if 10 people look at your listing and five of them buy, you have a conversion rate of 50%.
Remember back when we said Amazon takes a lot of things into consideration when showing your items to shoppers? You can probably bet that conversion rate is one of them.
1-click SuperURLs can tank your conversion rate
So what most Amazon FBAers do is generate one of these SuperURLs using a service like AmzTracker, and distribute them to fifty gazillion (approx) people who then all go straight to the page and then 1 percent of them buy the item, which now means your conversion rate is 1 out of 50 gazillion, which is, you know. Low. Like. Flo Rida low.
Enter 2-click SuperURLs. Or SuperDuperURLs
Yes. I’m a grown man that used the word SuperDuper. We will get through it, together.
A SuperDuperURL (oh my god the POWER) is a new type of SuperURL which carries the benefits of SuperURLS but with extra Duper in it, (drunk on power), because it doesn’t carry the risk of destroying your conversion rate.
Instead of taking a person directly to the product, a SuperDuperURL takes you to your storefront, as if the user had typed in the keyword.
Now if a person clicks decides they don’t want to buy it, and browse away, your conversion rate stays intact, but if they click through, and purchase, it will be as if they typed in the word “ninja turtle” and decided to purchase it.
Best of both worlds.
How do I make a SuperDuperURL and Can I please call them 2-click SuperURLs I have dignity.
Amachete makes it really easy.
First click on My Products on the menu.
Then open the product you wish to create a Super(duper)URL. Make sure to choose the right marketplace as, obviously, Super(Duper!)URLs are marketplace specific.
Once you click on the SuperURL button on the right-hand side you’ll be prompted with a window.
This window is where you choose the keyword you want to rank for
It will generate a Super(Duper)URL which you can then distribute to potential buyers, increase your keyword rank, and increase your sales.
This is a good question without a lot of public answers on the internet so I figured I could help.
Why The 999 Trick Won’t Work
Some sellers restrict the number of items a person can buy. There are a number of reasons to do this, but the primary reason is probably to prevent having your inventory cleared out through a misconfigured coupon code.
The second reason is to keep your competitors from knowing when you’re running out of stock. There are a number of things you can do to take advantage of your competitors stockouts, we’ll save that for a later post, but for right now I’ll explain how to fairly accurately track the inventory of an item. that has this blocked using it’s BSR.
What is BSR, in this context?
While no one knows exactly how Amazon’s ranking method works, it’s safe to say that one of the strongest determining factors is sales per day.
So if an item with a BSR (Best Seller Rank) of 10 sells 20 per day, and an item with a BSR of 20 sells 10 per day, it’s safe to assume that an item with a BSR of 15 sells somewhere between 10 and 20 per day.
However it’s a little more specific than that, because Amazon calculates this number _per_ category. That means an item with a Best Seller Rank of 20 in PETS might sell far more than an item with a BSR of 20 in “Industrial & Science” because it’s like 99% more fun to buy a dog a pet than it is to buy a pocket protector. That’s science.
Because of the “category specific” ranking you can use the category neighbors of an item to find the rank.
Let’s use an example
This Zilla Premium Reflector Dome has a BSR of 818 in Pets. Lets pretend the 999 trick isn’t working.
What you would do is try to find a BSR of AROUND 818 in the Pet Department and track that item instead. You could either click on one of the sub category links or browse through the main category.
By browsing through the main category, using the extension we see that there’s an item with a BSR of 811 right above it.
And using the sales estimate for this item we can see that it appears to sell 1 – 2 more items per day on average.
By clicking *track* on this item, Amachete will automatically perform the 999 trick on this *neighboring* item every day, and we can use *that* items BSR/Sales per day to very accurately predict what the daily sales are for the heat lamp.
An Amachete user (Thanks Henrik!) recently referred me to this review, where someone suggested that a Keyword Index Checker got their account suspended.
The two most important things for me, with Amachete, are the privacy of user data, and preventing our users from engaging in TOS violating behavior.
Since an Index Checker is a fairly trivial piece of technology, it’s on my “list of things to do”, so I thought it’d be worth taking a moment to see whether or not this review has any merit, and answer the question:
“Can a keyword index checker get you suspended?”
Wait what’s a keyword index checker?
Well, to answer that question, you have to know what being “indexed” is.
Let’s say, for some inexplicable reason, you decide to sell ‘pet birthday hats’.
Before you go into it, you decide to check out the competition, so you type ‘pet birthday hats’ into Amazon, and a number of listings pop up.
All of those listings are *indexed* for Amazon’s database, for the search term ‘pet birthday hats.‘ Meaning that because of their backend/front end keywords/search index/whatever Amazon thinks these accounts matter.
So why do I care about Keyword Indexing?
Periodically, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, to me anyway, Amazon doesn’t always index your item for Keywords. Maybe when you uploaded your flat file there was an error. Maybe you changed root nodes and something didn’t save right. Whatever. Periodically your sales will just slip away and it’ll be because you aren’t indexed for ‘pet birthday hats’.
More simply: Users type in the phrase, your listing doesn’t show up. You aren’t indexed.
How do I know if an ASIN is indexed for a keyword?
Pretty easy. If you do a search for that keyword, and the ASIN, it’ll show up, and be ‘above the fold’. Here’s a link you can try:
I would say this is “soft indexed” meaning that Amazon knows that this item *probably” is right for this search term, but it’s *not* because this phrase is in the product listing. (because this person hasn’t put the word puppy in the product description, rookie move.)
That suspicion is confirmed here, by checking to see if it’s indexed for “birthday hat”
Okay great, so I can search for all my search terms, with my ASIN to make sure that Amazon has them indexed?
Awesome! Wait that’s going to take a while, someone should make a program that…OOHHHHHHH.
Exactly. A keyword index checker is a pretty boring piece of technology in the grand scheme of things. All you do is ask the user for a list of search terms (Cut and pasted from their back end), their ASIN, and then visit the above URLs with all of the search terms, and compare the results and make sure that they are there. Using the trial of KW Checker indicates just that it does exactly that.
Interesting. Removing the quotes gives some credence to the idea that Amazon, through some mechanism or another indexes search terms (“puppy birthday hat”) differently than they do back end keywords (“puppy, birthday, hat”) as this item shows up as being indexed for the keyword one, but not the search term one. However it does show up for the search term “pet birthday hat” which is right there in the title.
This will take some diving into, but my current thought now is that if you have a search term that is converting, make sure it’s _hard indexed_ and not soft indexed.
You’re rambling. What does this have to do with KW Checker?
It just means there’s no way that KW Checker caused that guy’s account to get suspended. Why? Nothing links KW Checker to the selling account. *
Without this link between seller and checker, it’s harmless, because if it *were* harmful without the link you could weaponize KW Checker.
You could easily use it to shut down your competitions accounts simply by taking your keywords and aiming it at their asins and running it again and again and again. There’s no world where if you just enter a bunch of asins and keywords and check them constantly then Amazon will just start shutting down all those listings.
*Unless you are a tinfoil-hat person who thinks that Amazon is linking your browser activity to your seller account, etc etc, which is really the path to madness. If this is really a concern, (which it shouldn’t be), then just use a proxy or a different person’s computer but honestly don’t bother.
The good news about KW checker is that it’s almost certainly safe for checking keyword indexing. The bad news is that it’s probably not very good for checking search terms.
Sure, there are tangentially interesting things for you, of course, the idea that Amazon uses Machine Learning to help with product rank, fraud detection, language translations, that’s all great. But it’s not actionable. You aren’t going to click on “MACHINE LEARN MY FBA BUSINESS” any time soon.
But there’s a lot to learn from his yearly letter, because he doubles down on his concept of … DAY 1.
I’m not going to describe the entirety DAY 1, because that’s why he wrote the letter. So he could restate it. Not so that I could restate his restatement for you.
But since you might be either lazy or busy I will break it down into a super pithy phrase:
“Act fast, Act confident, Accept the new.”
Act fast – Don’t spend a ton of time making your decisions. Just do them. It’s like the lean methodology, FAIL FAST. It’s better to make all your mistakes in the span of six months than it is over the span of six years. You’ll get to the same place both routes, it’s just that the first route leaves you with five and a half more years to figure it out.
Act confident – I very, very, very, intentionally did not write “Be Confident”, because that’s a very different thing. Being confident suggests that you have thoroughly vetted the decision you are making, and feel like you have a good handle on things. This is good if you are (say) performing an organ transplant.
This is bad if you are (say) picking a product to launch on Amazon.co.jp. The difference between the outcome of a 70% confidence decision and a 100% confidence decision is generally trivial. Especially if you’re making those decisions quickly. The difference in the time it takes to go from 70 to 100% confidence is significant.
Accept the new – I used the word Accept here just so I could keep the Act- theme going, but really it should be something like Embrace. Or Chase.
When I first started selling on Amazon, 18 months ago. Everyone said “Focus on America, there’s so much demand” but I just didn’t have the time or energy to deal with it. Amazon.de seemed different. New even.
Two months later I had a product generating four figures profit, with 1 picture and no reviews, with copy that I made using google translate. Selling outside of America was new. And since I’ve accepted it, early, I’ve been able to help other people like you find low-competition profitable opportunities abroad.
In the next post I’ll go into more detail about more examples of how you can apply “Day 1” to your Amazon FBA business, but for now just remember to Act Fast, Act Confident, and Accept the new.